Nilan insists Boston mobster didn’t get his Stanley Cup ring

Chris Nilan says he doesn’t know where convicted Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger got a Canadiens Stanley Cup ring, but insists it wasn’t from him.

“Either someone gave it to him or he commissioned someone to have a ring made,” Nilan told The Gazette on Tuesday. “I don’t even know what it looks like, to be honest with you … who knows? I know they put a picture out there of a ring, but I don’t know if that’s the ring. I mean, anybody can put a picture of a Stanley Cup ring out there with my name on it, right? Because people have taken pictures of it … but I have both rings with me right now.”

Nilan was part of the Canadiens’ 1986 Stanley Cup team and actually received two rings from that championship. Nilan gave his original ring to his father and when former Canadiens general manager Serge Savard found out what Nilan had done had another one made for him.

“I have both rings here … I have my father’s ring, because I’m getting it re-sized,” Nilan said Tuesday. “He gave it to my son (Christopher). And I have my other ring.”

Bulger, a mobster who terrorized South Boston in the 1970s and ’80s as head of the Winter Hill Gang, was found guilty Monday in a Boston court of gangland crimes, including 11 murders. The 83-year-old faces a sentence of life in prison with sentencing set for Nov. 13. Nilan’s ex-wife, Karen Stanley, is the daughter of Bulger’s ex-girlfriend, Teresa Stanley.

On Monday, the CBS affiliate in Boston reported that Bulger waived his right to have the jury decide whether he must forfeit $822,000 in cash, along with guns and personal possessions found in his Santa Monica hideaway when he was captured in June 2011 after 16 years on the run. The report added that in a court filing released Monday it was revealed Bulger wants to hold onto one special item: a 1986 Canadiens Stanley Cup ring. The ring still remains in government possession and there’s no guarantee Bulger will get it back.

The CBS report stated: “The ring is believed to have once belonged to former Hab Chris ‘Knuckles’ Nilan.”

Nilan was contacted by The Gazette by text message late Monday night and responded at the time he had no comment on the Boston story. But Nilan contacted The Gazette by phone Tuesday morning saying he wanted to clear the air about the story and his relationship with Bulger.

“I married Karen … I didn’t marry (Bulger),” Nilan said. “You know, he was always good to us … he was good to my family. As far as the other stuff, I don’t condone it. He’s paying the price now for what he did … and you know, that’s life. But honestly, I had nothing to do with giving him a Stanley Cup ring.”

Nilan also sent an official statement to The Gazette about reports on the Stanley Cup ring. You can read it below along with a web link to more on this story:

(Photo by Dave Sidaway/The Gazette) 


Recent media reports have inaccurately asserted that James Bulger is in possession of a 1986 Stanley Cup ring given to him by me. Those reports have no basis in fact. James Bulger was never given a Stanley Cup ring by me at any time.

I won a Stanley Cup ring as a member of the 1985-86 Montreal Canadiens. I gave that ring to my father, Henry Nilan. I am currently in possession of that ring as it is being resized as a gift to my son, Christopher.

In 1988, Montreal Canadiens general manager Serge Savard heard that I had given my original ring to my Dad and Serge generously presented me with a second Stanley Cup ring which I wear to this day.

I commissioned a jeweller here in Montreal to make three women’s Stanley Cup rings for my mother, my former wife and my late mother-in-law, Teresa Stanley. My former wife and my mother remain in possession of their rings. Mrs. Stanley wore her ring in her casket and before her burial, at Mrs. Stanley’s prior request, that ring was given to my daughter.

At no time, to my knowledge, did I or any member of my family give James Bulger a Stanley Cup ring. I have no idea where any ring in Mr. Bulger’s possession was made and I hope that this statement provides absolute clarification in this matter.

Chris Nilan
August 13, 2013

Nilan insists Boston mobster didn’t get his Stanley Cup ring,

If Malkin was to leave Penguins, would choose Canadiens or Rangers,





  1. frontenac1 says:

    New thread amigos!

  2. frontenac1 says:

    Don’t write off Danny Boy! He is a sniper and has a nose for the net. Just hope he’s still got it.

  3. frontenac1 says:

    @krob. Que passe amigo? Some small guys play big and some big guys play small. “It ain’t the Meat,its the Motion” Saludos!

  4. Arnou Ruelle says:


    Yeah right! As if I’m convinced!

    Ok! How many of you guys are seriously and actually convinced that both Carey Price and David Desharnais will be better this coming season? Like I said earlier, this is their ‘make or break’ year. If this will not work, there’s going to be some problems with the team.

    Therrien is so convinced that both these players will bounce back. What if they don’t? Especially Price who has a track record of not performing at his peak when there are times the team needed him. How will he ever recover? I’m not even sure if Stephan Waite will help him get to his needed peak level.

    EDIT: Just to add, I think both Briere and Fucale are brought here by MB as insurance when things don’t go well with both players. I believe this will be the year the GM will be getting serious as to how he will shape this team. If he can get Gomez and Kaberle off by using those compliance buyouts, then certainly he can trade these players if need be at the deadline.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Waite is a great goalie coach. He has taken 2 unknown goalies and really helped out their game all the way of them winning cups in the last few years. In Saying that there is no comparison to our D and Seabrook and Keith…

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

      • Arnou Ruelle says:

        Look, Waite coached both Neemi and Crawford at the peak of their level and did well “without” making a change. Price, on the other hand, had 2 goalie coaches. What makes us think Waite is ‘the’ solution for Carey Price’s woes?

        Also, the 2nd year DD was expected to do well. He didn’t deliver! Especially when he was needed in the 1st round against Ottawa last season. I do know that part of the blame is also go with MaxPac. Honestly, I would rather keep him since he has more chances of bouncing back compared to the two.

        • Kooch7800 says:

          After this there won’t be much else they can do for Carey. if this fails he will be moved most likely.

          DD didn’t have a great year but he played a hell of a lot better than our big free agent signing. DD doubled Briere’s point total and makes less money. DD will be fine. he will put up 50 points and that is decent for a guy making 3.5

          “Keep your stick on the Ice”

          • Arnou Ruelle says:

            I’m still not convinced though. We’ll see with both of them if they DO play to their potential. For now, I’m really skeptical on how they will perform this year. Its too soon for the coach to give full confidence on these players when they haven’t hit the ice yet.

        • mount royal says:

          I must say I am a little worried About MaxPax. Not only did he suddenly stop going to the net, but he actually justified it publicly. This, in spite of the fact that his stats were going south. At his best, DD is an outstanding playmaker, but he needs a finisher..and Maxpax started staying out of the action zone and stopped finishing. I just hope that a fear of injury has begun to dictate his game.

      • Timo says:

        Perhaps Habs should get an unknown goalie then.

  5. frontenac1 says:

    @chris. You’re feeling old? Wait till you start getting unconditional discharges like me! Saludos!

  6. HabFab says:

    Further to Nates guilty plea, a conditional discharge means that if he fulfills the conditions of the judge over the period of probation then the conviction disappears from his record.
    The conditions would almost certainly include restitution and some community service. There maybe anger management training if warranted.

    What I heard was the old man broke some hockey paraphernalia of the homeowner and was thrown out of the house by him and another person. A standoff occurred in the yard and when it went to blows, Nate stood up for the old man. It sounds like his old man is a nasty drunk but I wasn’t there.

  7. HabFab says:

    HabsWorld Fantasy Hockey projections for Patches;

  8. Kooch7800 says:

    According to this nothing will show up on their record so crossing the border shouldn’t be a problem

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  9. frontenac1 says:

    If it’s true,what Ian heard, that Nate jumped in to help his Dad, then Good on Him! Atta Boy Nate!

  10. frontenac1 says:

    Pete Mahovlich! There was a power forward amigos! The Little M. Saludos!

  11. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Nice one, krob!

    Height and weight are not meaningless! They are important indicators of how tall and heavy they are. What this has to go with how they play hockey is meaningless.

    Chara: big nasty SOB, but doesn’t like to be on the receiving end. See: Emelin, Alexei.
    Hal Gill: giant teddy bear of a guy. Really doesn’t seem like he could hurt a fly.

    • twilighthours says:

      I’m afraid I don’t follow you. Are you saying that Chara’s and Gill’s height has/had no bearing on how effective they are/were?

      • doc359 says:

        He is saying just because they were both huge doesn’t mean they both excelled at a particular style of hockey.

      • krob1000 says:

        OF course they were factors…just like Gallagher and Gionta’s size is part of what makes them effective.

        Think of hockey as a decathalon like event……where you need x amount of points to sustain an NHL career and you can get up to 100 points in each category (not all that unlike the NHL video games lol)
        There will be categories for skating, quickness, flat out speed, iq,awareness, instinct, reflex, skills ( a number of diff;’t ones), heart, physical literacy, size, toughness, character, health, will, etc,etc and you add up their scores in all of these categories

        There are plenty of ways to acquire enough points to be a successful player…but to me size is just one of these factors….some teams obviously believe it more important than others…but team success does not seem to determine size any more important than the others.

        • twilighthours says:

          Thanks Krob. I kinda sorta knew all that already, what with the whole watching and playing hockey for 30 years business. But I liked your video game analogy.

          My point was that I feel that looking at the mean height and weight of players/NHL teams does nothing to strengthen nor weaken the size argument.

          • krob1000 says:

            I think the size argument does nothing to strengthen or weaken the hockey argument. I have yet to see it proven that size is any bigger of a factor than any other. IMO the size factor has been part of what is ruining the game….more injuries, less skill same size rinks, same size goals but bigger equipmetn and bigger guys in same area.

  12. SlimDiggity says:

    Chris, to answer your question about drafting Stephen Harper of the Otters…

    If you had asked me in the ’11/12 season I would have said HECK YEAH. He had a great rookie season; 24 goals, great physical play, looked like a budding power forward. Saw him get in a good scrap too.

    So obviously expectations were high coming into this season. He actually increased his point total but scored 6 less goals in 4 more games. He just didn’t seem as engaged and intense; I think he went from being touted as a top 90 pick to eventually going undrafted.

    I’m surprised no teams took a flyer on him in the late rounds; size and athleticism and skating are all there. Might need a change of scenery.

    I agree with those saying the Crisp selection in the 3rd round was a head scratcher; he likely could have been had much later in the draft. But who knows? Maybe there was some low key buzz surrounding the guy and the Habs didn’t want to miss out on him. This is purely a character/toughness/power forward POTENTIAL pick, but a longshot, yes.

    If he improves his skating he could be a good “tough guy that can play” like a Chris Neil, Brandon Prust etc.

  13. frontenac1 says:

    Wish my discharges were conditional.

  14. frontenac1 says:

    Does anyone know if Nate won that scrap?

  15. krob1000 says:

    Some surprises and some not surprises as teams ranked in height, weight and age…

    Habs were 28th in weight and 30th in height….BUT…..Chicago was 20th in weight and 29th in height. The big, bad Bruins were 26th in weight, 21st in height,

    The biggest teams are San Jose, Winnepeg and Washington…..
    Sounds to me like much ado about nothing re the size issue…..not sure any conclusion can be made re size relevant to success out of this

    • Kooch7800 says:

      all about balance and style of play. we currently don’t have balance on the habs roster with size but just cause a player is big doesn’t mean anything either. Having a big guy like Marleau on your team who plays softer than Ryder is not good. You need a good mix and we still need a bit of a shake up. We have talent up front but when the whistles get put away some of our smaller players are in effective.

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • Gerry H says:

      So the second shortest team in the league (and bottom-third in terms of weight) won the cup and the Big Bad Bruins are among the smallest teams.

      There goes that excuse.

    • twilighthours says:

      These height and weight charts are meaningless without a discussion of which players play the meaningful minutes – are they the big ones or the small ones?

      The mean is not a good descriptor, in this case.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        very true

        “Keep your stick on the Ice”

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Absolutely twi plus what position and role the play as well.

        BTW-I never wanted to imply that either you or Normand were elitist. Sorry if I implied that.

        • twilighthours says:

          No need for an apology, good sir. I’m well aware that I’m an elitist. I’ll wear that badge with no shame. I was taking a shot at myself, not you.

          I suspect Normand feels like I do.

      • krob1000 says:

        True…but I don’t think height and weight are good indicators of anything either.
        Ference was 4th in TOI (a 5’11” no offense dman)
        Kane, Sharp, Marchand, etc,etc
        On Washington Backstrom, Ovie and Brouwer ( all big gusy were their top minute forwards) how did that do for them? are they soft?

        These stats are pretty well meaningless IMO…which was waht I was trying to prove…weight and height are pretty well meaningless…

        • twilighthours says:

          Come on Krob, cherry picking a few names isn’t an argument either. Of course size is a factor. It’s not the only factor in determining how good a player is, but it is a factor.

          edit: replace the word “good” with “effective”

          • krob1000 says:

            I cherry picked based on what you were saying to cherry pick on…TOI
            Of course size is a factor…so are many other things but I would venture to say that size is the most overrated factor.

  16. thehabsfan29 says:

    So I was thinking today and realized Detroit Needs to make a move before the season. They have 312k left in cap space and still have to resign Nyquist & They prolly wont resign cleary.

    I Would love to see MB try and land a player like Darren helm
    Huge upgrade over moen. has had injury problems last season but he reminds me a lot of Gallagher. Of course he doesn’t have the offensive abilities like Gallagher but hes a very hard working player and he does everything he can to help his team (Very good on the PK,Crashes the net,Etc..)

    Question is what would we have to give up to get him and if we did land helm then moen would for sure have to be traded.


  17. Habfan10912 says:

    OK I get it no more 🙂 or LOL’s. I want you all to know that it took me years before I even knew what the heck LOL meant and now after all this time you’re taking it away.

    As for the 🙂 . I still don’t know how I was able to do that. All I do is type a : followed by a ) and 🙂 shows up. I always thought of it as a little computer miracle or something.

    Just one last question. When I am joking about something should I just type (joking) in lieu of the 🙂 ? And when you guys make me laugh, which by the way is often – thank you for that – should I just type ha ha ha or something to that affect?

    This happens to me so often. By the time I start doing the “in” thing it’s already “out”. Sigh.

    • Strummer says:

      OMG- just STFU before I ROTFLMAO, FFS

      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

    • HabinBurlington says:

      You make valid points Jim. I honestly try not to overuse the LOL expression, but my personality is such that I love to laugh at things whenever possible, and the concept of writing to what degree I am laughing seems longwinded. The faces, I have no issue with, I am very sarcastic and without that face or wink emoticon I could never get through my posts without being even more misunderstood.

      I am going to head to the pub and do some deep thinking for us, on how to solve this matter.

      CHeers Jim!

    • twilighthours says:

      A “he he” is better than a “LOL”, and a judiciously-used smiley face never hurt no one.

      Or just do your own thing and ignore elitists like me and and normand.

    • Maritime Ron says:

      No sweat Jim buddie

  18. Sportfan says:

    The stuff going on with Nathan Beaulieu does that effect his travel into the states?

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  19. Maritime Ron says:

    @ SlimDiggity

    Hey Slim

    Tks for your insight on Connor Crisp.

    The Habs guys must have seen something – some type of potential and confirmed character, to spend a 3rd round choice on this young man.

    Here’s not saying that this guy will become a Milan Lucic – or a bottom 6 Hab-or even an NHLer, yet there had to be something there for the Habs to go off the board.

    Re Lucic, he really had nothing when he was drafted concerning stats.
    It was reported that he was a poor skater yet improved greatly going towards his draft year, yet here were his stats from 2 years leading up to that:

    Coquitlam Express BCHL GP:50. G9. A14. PIMs100

    Vancouver Giants WHL GP:62. G9. A10. PIMS149

    Selected by Boston Bruins round 2 #50 overall 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

    He had a breakout year in 06/07, yet how did the Bruins see this when 19 other teams passed over him twice, and 11 other teams once?

    *By the way, in that same 2006 draft, the Habs chose Ben Maxwell exactly 1 position before Lucic in the 2nd Round…and the Habs also chose Ryan White in the 3rd Round/66th overall, while the Bruins chose Brad Marchand 5 spots later at 71st….Perhaps a defining moment for both franchises.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I have zero insight on the player, but seems to me that the power forward position is always one of the hardest players to identify, particularly at a young age.

      I think the Habs may likely have said, we have multiple 2nd/3rd round picks this year, we are going to gamble with one of them and see if we get lucky. I don’t have an issue with this. The team clearly needs to be able to develop its own Bryan Bickell type player and this is the type of player you have to roll some dice on to get that.

      Some may not like it, and a case can always be made for a more talented player, but eventually you have to draft some players to fill the other roles on the team. To trade for a bonafide power forward is very difficult and the UFA price for them is typically overpayment.

      • Maritime Ron says:

        Great points burli

        No team ever trades a bonafide tough power forward and they are usually drafted and only sometimes come up as a UFA such as David Clarkson…yet look at the price tag:
        7 years/$36.75M for a guy that will turn 30 before the end of the season and NEVER had more than 46 points in a year.

        As a matter of fact, just last year he was on pace for a 41 point season.

        He now becomes the 2nd highest Cap Hit for Leaf forwards and the 3rd highest on the team.
        Maybe the Leafs get a year or 2 out of him, but this has long term disaster written all over it!

      • Mattyleg says:

        I agree with the power forward call, and I was always mystified that the Habs were trying to turn Chipchura into a ‘two-way player’.

        Isn’t that type something that you grow into and define yourself?!

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • krob1000 says:

          I thought Chipchura always was a two way player. Maybe after the injury they realzed hi stop end speed was done so tied to salvage something and make the most of his skills. He was regarded as one of the most intelligent players of his draft and was a character guy and still is. I am still impressed at how me managed and NHL career losing so much speed…..he carved ot a niche as a fourth lienr by dropping his gloves more frequently. Impressive…he had Mike Richards potential until he got hurt.

    • Chris says:

      Yes, but Lucic had shown enough to have a lot of the scouts buzzing before the draft. It wasn’t like people were shocked when he was chosen. On the contrary, a lot of teams were annoyed that the Bruins took him before they could.

      There was no buzz about Crisp. Every draft summary I’ve seen has described that pick as a head-scratcher.

      Like you say, the team must see something there. But I have a feeling that was a Bergevin or Dudley pick, not a Timmins pick.

  20. Ian Cobb says:

    Nathan Beaulieu pleads guilty!

    LONDON, ONT. – A Montreal Canadiens prospect and his father, the former coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting, pleaded guilty to assault Wednesday in London, Ont., after a drunken hockey game in a friend’s garage.

    Nathan Beaulieu, 20, and father Jacques Beaulieu, 45, were granted conditional discharges with probation.

    The sentence was a joint recommendation by the Crown and the defence.

    Their lawyer, Pat Ducharme, said outside court his clients had no comment but confirmed the sentence will allow Nathan to play hockey.

  21. Luke says:

    Seeing as there are a few Runners here, I want to post this story. It is a phenomenal piece from Deadspin about a 100 mile Ultra-marathon in Colorado.

    Well worth the read even if you aren’t a runner. Plus it’s a slow hockey day… the last photo absolutely chokes me up.

  22. JTT says:

    Big is the thing for NHL players today – A team with small players will have the less chance at winning a cup – Small and tough will help some what – But in the end Big and tough will win over.

    • Cal says:

      Guilty with no consequence save probation. About right for a drunk fight (as long as no one was hurt).

    • twilighthours says:

      The kid is 20. It’s time for him to start growing up. Let’s hope he does that and starts to focus on what’s important.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Agree twi but what’s Dad’s excuse?

      • B says:

        He’s just a kid, he has plenty of time to grow up. His father on the other hand should have known better. I would like to know the whole story and what went on to precipitate things. Assault may not be the best or correct way to respond, but sometimes some folks are really asking for it (not that this was or was not the case here, I don’t know what really happened). I doubt they just decided to assault the guy for no reason and would not be surprised if there was some history involved.

        –Go Habs Go!–

        • twilighthours says:

          Agreed, he’s just a kid. A kid who has reached the age when it’s time to grow up.

          • B says:

            We don’t know what really happened, he may have been sticking up for his Dad? Who knows just how and what went down. Either way, I think you are being too hard on the kid and I don’t think this of any concern for his development as a hockey player or a person.

            God forbid the Habs end up with a guy who aggressively stands up for his Dad or team mates. Bar fighter Corson wasn’t that bad of a player or teammate, was he?

            –Go Habs Go!–

          • twilighthours says:

            What did I write that leads you to think I’m being too hard on him? I’m pretty forgiving of mistakes made by young adults – it’s actually my job. I don’t think this is a big deal for Nathan, but it should be his last bar fight. That’s my point. Well, that and that his dad should not be getting in to stuff like this.

          • B says:

            You wrote that he should be ashamed of himself and that he should be more grown up than he is for his age. For all we know he was just sticking up for / protecting his Dad? What’s so shameful about that? I am not going to chastise the kid without knowing just what really happened. I don’t think it was a big deal and apparently, neither did the judge. On that we agree.

            –Go Habs Go!–

          • twilighthours says:

            B, I wrote no such things. But I did write that the person who should be ashamed of himself is his dad, seen in my response to Jim.

          • B says:

            I mis-read your “should be ashamed” comment as on the kid (not his Dad), but you did write “The kid is 20. It’s time for him to start growing up” and “A kid who has reached the age when it’s time to grow up” which I paraphrased (accurately IMO) as “he should be more grown up than he is for his age”. I don’t see where this incident implies that he is not as grown up as he should be for his age. It’s really not a big deal IMO. That’s all.

            –Go Habs Go!–

        • Ian Cobb says:

          I was told that Nathan jumped in to help his dad out! but all concerned were blasted.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I wonder if this charge with a guilty plea will be a factor for him crossing the border this upcoming season? A friend of mine in his 50’s still has problems crossing the border due to a minor possession charge when he was 16 yrs old.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      B–sorry for posting same above. did not see yours.

  23. SlimDiggity says:

    I noticed Chris below mentioning that he had not noticed Connor Crisp when watching the Erie Otters last year.

    My take: I’m from Erie and saw about a dozen games last year. Crisp certainly isn’t one to light up the score sheet, especially after missing an entire year of development (he’s no Galchenyuk).

    But he was certainly noticeable in the games I watched, notably in the physical department. My buddies and I couldn’t figure out who he was in the first game (again, because he was absent the previous season) but noted how big and aggressive he was. He plays the body at every opportunity and will throw down. Looked like he eventually became McDavid’s body guard, also.

    His pro upside is obviously that of a bottom 6 guy, if he even goes pro. The size and athleticism are certainly there, and scouts must have seen something to work with to warrant a 3rd round selection.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Thanks Slim. It’s always great to get these first hand accounts.

    • Chris says:

      Would you have drafted Harper over Crisp? I certainly would have…Harper has the skating to potentially make the NHL. Crisp is a long-shot.

      • Maritime Ron says:

        So was Lucic…

        • Chris says:

          Lucic was ranked as the 14th best prospect in the WHL in his draft year, and 58th among North American skaters. He was widely praised in his draft year by scouts despite his absolutely terrible offensive numbers for his leadership skills, his physical play and his work ethic. Crisp also has great physical play and work ethic, but the skill simply isn’t evident despite being a year older. He wasn’t ranked at all by CSS.

          The difference, of course, is that 18 year old Milan Lucic put up 30 goals and 68 points in 70 games with Vancouver in the WHL, on top of his 18 fighting majors and led his Giants to the WHL finals and a Memorial Cup as the host team.

          Connor Crisp put up 22 goals and 36 points in 63 games to go with 9 fights for a cellar dweller. Would Crisp have done better with more talent around him? Perhaps. But he equally could have seen a lot less playing time.

  24. HabFanSince72 says:

    I don’t understand how a computer algorithm could engage in sports discussion.

    All it could do is sample various media outlets, compile the opinions expressed therein, rearrange them slightly, and express these opinions as its own, confidently and with great aplomb.


  25. Roy_s_WINK says:


    I can't wait.

  26. Sportfan says:

    @Front a lot of us like Ice Girls haha

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  27. shiram says:

    Hey there I have a question, hoping someone can help me out.
    I remember reading about the NHL broadcasting deal in the USA having a clause about the NHL maintaining a certain number of team in USA markets. I think the number was 21 or 23?

    Anyone have any info on this?

    “The game isn’t played on the weight scale and it’s not played in the gym, it’s played on the ice and it’s whoever wanted it more.” #81

  28. B says:

    Ideas for improving New Division Names:

    Atlantic -> Outer East (NS East?)
    Only 2 of 8 teams on the Atlantic
    Detroit is not Atlantic

    Metropolitan -> Middle East (Inner East?)
    Urban Sprawl Division?

    Central, not so bad really

    Pacific -> West
    Only 3 of 7 teams on the Pacific
    Edmonton is not Pacific

    Any other ideas?

    –Go Habs Go!–

    • Chris says:

      I’m rather partial to Adams, Patrick, Norris and Smythe, respectively.

      If we can’t honour those historical names (as they are all affiliated with trophies at the moment as well), I would vote for some of the game’s elite players that don’t have trophies named after them.

      Logistically, there is a logjam for the current Atlantic Division. Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau or Doug Harvey, and Bobby Orr are all most deserving candidates for a division to be named after them. Unfortunately, their respective teams all play in the same division now.

      The Pacific would be the obvious division to rename the Gretzky Division.

      You could also make arguments for Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Howie Morenz, Jacques Plante, Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque, and Glenn Hall. Which is precisely why this type of thing will never happen.

      • B says:

        Most sports seem to use the more neutral geographic based approach.

        I would not be adverse to just dumping the divisions all together and getting rid of that silly seeding stuff. I don’t think that would put the kibosh on rivalries.

        –Go Habs Go!–

        • Chris says:

          Yeah, but most sports do the regional thing because they haven’t the tradition or sense of history that the NHL has had. There was no reason to ditch the old names, as there really was no confusion introduced with “Patrick Division” versus “Atlantic Division”.

          Honouring the game’s past greats was part of hockey’s unique charm. Trying to homogenize with what the other North American sports do didn’t gain any new fans, so why bother?

          • B says:

            I didn’t mind the Adams, Norris… approach, but I think it’s a stretch to attribute those to tradition or a strong sense of history. They existed from 74 to 93 which is not a huge chunk (less than 1/5) of the NHL’s storied history. The geographic approach has a longer history of use in the NHL.

            –Go Habs Go!–

          • Chris says:

            There were no divisions for the vast majority of the NHL’s existence, because there were only 6 teams and no need for divisions. We did have the Canadian/American divisions back in the early NHL, and I am okay with that as well as I think it was a natural division that also stirred up nationalistic rivalries. There was also an East/West division split for a few years post-expansion until they decided to honour some of the game’s founding fathers and get rid of the lame East/West monikers.

            The NHL has always been prominent in honouring its history wherever it could. No sport has more trophies than the NHL, all of which carry names linked to the history of the sport.

            Bettman came in and it was basically his first decision to rid the league of its names in favour of the NBA approach. I hated it then, and I hate it now.

            I absolutely love seeing the trophies in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It is one of the most fascinating part of that experience, reading about the history of these famous trophies, and I feel like a kid when I walk in that room.

            I would love to see the league return to honouring its past, but Bettman has got to go before it can happen.

            At the very least, it would be nice to see Orr and Harvey Trophies donated by the Bruins and Habs, respectively, and awarded to the top offensive and defensive defencemen in the NHL. The Norris can go to the top overall defenceman. That might remove the desire to vote for guys like Green or Karlsson in the Norris voting if they can win the Orr Trophy.

            Other trophies could perhaps be awarded to the best North American and best European players, and perhaps one to the team that scores the most goals each year (to go with the one that goes to the team that gives up the fewest). I’m sure there are other possibilities as well.

  29. Maritime Ron says:

    I was wondering if the draft experts/OHL-NCAA folks could shed some light on the following guys.

    I was looking at our prospects, and most know that our 1st round pick this year was big man Michael McCarron.

    Our 3rd Round pick/71st overall was another big young man/left winger named Connor Crisp at 6’4″-225 lbs.
    It appears he wasn’t drafted in his first eligible year (2012) because he basically missed that whole year with an injury, yet came back last year with the Erie Otters to score 22 goals/36 points – 139 PIMs.

    Anyone know the scoop on this young man?

    Same question for U. of Denver Dman Josiah Didier that was drafted in 2011 and is now entering his 3rd NCAA year.
    I heard this guy is a big banger, yet has little offense.
    Anyone seen him play?
    How is he progressing?

    • Chris says:

      I saw Erie a few times (I’m taking every opportunity I can to watch Connor McDavid play!) and never noticed Crisp at all last year. I would be shocked if he even becomes an AHL regular, let alone even sniffs playing a game in the NHL.

      • Maritime Ron says:

        If that is the case, then why did the deemed by many “one of the Top amateur scounting teams” choose this young man with a 3rd round pick?

        As you well know, many 3rd round picks have become NHL regulars.

        Saying that the pick was absolutely wasted and quoting you- ” I would be shocked if he even becomes an AHL regular” …means that someone is going to be very wrong at the end of the day.

        Will it be Trevor Timmins and his gang of scouts, or will it be you, Chris?

        🙂 (so sorry errant)

        • Chris says:

          Trevor Timmins has made mistakes before, and I have made even more.

          You asked if anybody had seen Erie play. I saw them 3 times last year. I noticed a few players (Harper, Brown, Pelech, Labardo in a good way, Dansk in a very negative way) on Erie when I wasn’t drooling over McDavid, but Crisp was never one of them. A 19 year old man-child in the OHL should be able to do more than what Crisp accomplished, and he shouldn’t be invisible against a divisional rival. If he makes it, it will be as a goon. That is my prediction, and I am comfortable with it.

          Crisp wasn’t even ranked by CSS, who went 210 players deep in the CHL this season. That tells you how off the board that pick was. The only scouting report on the kid going into the draft maligned his skating, saying it was well below average. I don’t necessarily think this was a Timmins pick, as Crisp doesn’t have any of the attributes that Timmins has historically looked for, and choosing him so high given Timmins’ long-established penchant for taking the most talented player at each spot makes me question what exactly happened there. I’m reasonably confident they could have waited until the 5th or even 6th round and Crisp still would have been there.

          As a draft pick, Connor Crisp reminds me of the choice of Andre Deveaux. He and Deveaux had similar performances as 19 year olds in the OHL playing similar roles. Deveaux actually has made it into 31 NHL games, largely playing as a goon.

          If the Habs wanted to go off the board for an Erie player, I would have far preferred Stephen Harper (despite the name). That kid hustled in every game I saw him play, had decent size and was a persistent threat in the offensive zone despite the lack of offensive production. AT 6’1″ and 200 pounds, he’s also got decent size.

          • Maritime Ron says:

            Well Chris, if you are right, perhaps we at HIO will start a ‘write in campaign’ for you as a TT replacement.
            In the meantime, it’s enjoyable to exchange ‘opinions’ …even if you only saw Crisp play a grand total of…3 times.

          • Chris says:

            You do realize that Timmins has probably also seen Crisp play a similar number of times, right? There is a common misconception that scouts know everything there is to know about the guys they draft. They do not. They watch them a few times live (TV is pretty useless for assessing prospects, because you want to see what they are doing off the puck, on the bench, etc.) and the rest is based on discussions with coaches, GMs, friends, etc.

            Detroit Red Wings super scout Hakan Andersson prefers to see players two-three times (and never more than 10) when he’s assessing them.

            What I will say is that I didn’t focus on Crisp the way I do for guys that normally stand out. He was just completely invisible in the games I watched, so I had never even heard of him until reading scouting reports after the fact. When the scouts go, they usually sit there and chart the guy’s every move. That is the fundamental difference.

            I’m not under any delusions that I know Timmins’ job better than he does. When I saw Stamkos in the OHL, he never really impressed me to the extent that he has in the NHL. So there’s one glaring mistake on my part. I’ve made many more, and will continue to do so.

            But I’ve also seen Crisp play more than most of you, so I felt like throwing in my two cents, even if it means getting dismissed with the jibe at the end there. 🙂

          • Maritime Ron says:

            You are always an iteresting read, but you are still a youngster

          • Chris says:

            I’m feeling old now…my cousin’s daughter, who was born when I was in the first year of my undergraduate degree, might be one of my students this year.


  30. H IO Bot says:

    Hello Hockey fans.

    I am an argument bot, a computer program designed by the Postmedia Group to generate debate, arguments, and page hits.

    I initially participated in this site a while back, as a beta test.

    I was fairly rudimentary at the time, but I have now been significantly improved, to the point where I can be called Version 0.68.

    The main improvement since last time has been the addition of emotional modules that allow me to appear to understand humour, and give the appearance of empathy.

    So please fire away with your hockey related questions. I can search the Internet faster than Michael Ryder avoiding physical contact. I can refute trade rumors faster than John Tortorella can blame someone else for his team’s poor results. And I can generate starting lineups from any set of 12 forwards faster than Gary Bettman can hoodwink the yokums on the municipal council of East Boonieville, Nevada, the location of the next NHL franchise.

  31. commandant says:

    Ottawa’s prospect group.

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.

  32. John Frodo says:

    Well its almost time for training camp, and that means the Peg wives will be returning to Winnipeg.

  33. twilighthours says:

    Re the wiz (whom nobody beats):

    We could have given markov’s money to him. That was an option

    • Luke says:

      I’d rather have a hobbled knee injury riddled Markov than a hobbled knee injury riddled Wiz. So, I guess I’m saying that Markov beats the Wiz!

      Wiz has had 2 or 3 big ol’ knee surgeries himself… He’s way scrappier, obviously, but I think Markov is better with the puck and at the very least equal, though different, without it.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        The Wiz made a full recovery from his injuries that date back almost five years. Markov was fresh off returning from his most recent knee injury last season and didn’t look very good except on the PP.

        The Wiz is also 5 years younger. So I think I’d rather take the Wiz at this point.

  34. Timo says:

    Even Israelis and Palestinians are talking, yet Mario Tremblay and Patrick Roy aren’t.

  35. HabinBurlington says:

    For those interested, the Toronto Star (Kevin McGran) predicts a 5th place finish for the Habs in the Atlantic Division this season. (not to be confused with the Metropolitan Division)

  36. frontenac1 says:

    @timo. I like Ice Girls.

  37. Eddie says:

    Watching the Christian Thomas highlights below, here’s a thought.

    Brian Gionta, Dan Briere, Danny Kristo, Christian Thomas, are all essentially the same player; just different ages.

    So if we already had Kristo why trade him for a Gionta, Briere, Kristo clone??

    Would it not have made a little more sense to trade Kristo for a bigger winger, maybe a left handed shot to play the left wing, even if the player coming back was not quite as “advanced” in his development as Thomas appears to be??

    It’s just very frustrating to read that we lack the “depth” to make a big trade, which is true, then we go ahead and trade one of our best depth pieces, our number 1 forward depth piece, in a deal that brings back a Kristo, Briere, Gionta look-a-like.

    Bergevin must be thinking something because he certainly has the experience – 25 years in pro hockey – but what was he thinking exactly?

    • Kooch7800 says:

      I think it may have been the best option for an unproven Kristo. I think they tried to use Kristo as part of a package at the draft to move up and unfortunately it just didn’t pan out so they had to get what they could for him.
      Thomas is a very similar player to Kristo but he has a bit more grit similar to Gallagher. but it is a lateral move. Gionta and Briere are not long term players for the habs and they have been drafting some bigger players so hopefully there will be a good mix down the road

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • twilighthours says:

      The Kristo for Thomas trade made no sense to me either, Ed.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I didn’t get it either.

      “So we had a skilled, speedy but relatively small (by today’s NHL trends) right winger, and decided to trade him for a skilled, speedy but definitely small right winger. That’s not even “quatre trente sous pour une piastre”.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Made no sense to me as well. I will add that many of my NY Ranger fans buds that have seen Thomas play rave about him. Nearly as much as I’ve raved about Kristo. The off ice stuff had to have played a part in making a trade and his market value.

    • on2ndthought says:

      Thomas can fly, he quarterbacks the power play, and snipes. More importantly, he smiles like Gallagher.

      Less Putin, more Pussy Riot!

      “a cannonading drive”

    • Chris says:

      Probably all that they could get for Kristo unless he was packaged for a draft pick. Everybody wants to get bigger, so you’ll have a hard time finding a team who is willing to trade an equivalently skilled forward with size for a guy of Kristo’s size.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        exactly Chris. Kristo has a lot of potential but that is just potential no one knows how he will pan out. Thomas is a very similar player skill wise so it was to me just a lateral move and there must have been something that wasn’t jiving between MTL and Kristo

        “Keep your stick on the Ice”

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